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On the Histologic Heterogeneity of Thymic Epithelial Neoplasms
Impact of Sampling in Subtyping and Classification of Thymomas

Cesar A. Moran MD, Saul Suster MD
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1309/CYJH-9RXM-P2PK-120J 760-766 First published online: 1 November 2000


Six hundred thirty cases of thymomas were evaluated to determine morphologic heterogeneity. The thymomas were grouped in 4 categories using previous terminology. Stratification according to the number of sections available for examination revealed a marked difference in distribution by histopathologic type. A cutoff number of 5 sections appears to provide a difference in subgrouping these tumors. In addition, the proportion of invasive tumors increases with the number of sections examined. Final classification may be affected by the extent of sampling. Histopathologic classification of thymoma, although of academic interest, may have limited practical relevance for assessment of prognosis in limited biopsy tissue. Proper evaluation of histology and aggressive potential in thymoma should be based on ample sampling and assessment of capsular integrity, which is best accomplished on thoroughly sampled resection specimens rather than incomplete or limited biopsy samples.

Key Words:
  • Thymoma
  • Thymus
  • Carcinoma
  • Mediastinum
  • Histology